David Talbot's book Brothers is clearly the inspiration for the July 2, 2007 issue of Time featuring President Kennedy on the cover. In a long center section from pages 44-67, the magazine features seven essays on Kennedy, including one by Caroline Kennedy. The first one is by Talbot and is a general overview of Kennedy's foreign policy. This is a kind of magazine type summary of his book, which treats Kennedy fairly, judiciously, and insightfully. The last essay is a point/counterpoint conspiracy/no conspiracy argument on the assassination itself between Talbot and Vincent Bugliosi. In between there are essays on Kennedy's civil rights policies (by Robert Dallek), how he confronted the Roman Catholic faith issue in the 1960 election, and two essays on Kennedy's style as president.
This issue is remarkable for two reasons. First, as Talbot notes in his book, the Luce press (i.e. Time and Life) were strong critics of Kennedy while in office. They then did much to cover up the true facts of his death after the assassination. In fact, the last cover Time devoted to Kennedy was when Seymour Hersh published his absolutely horrendous hatchet job of a book on him, The Dark Side of Camelot back in 1997. This, of course was in keeping with the magazine's tradition. So this issue offers a clean break with that tradition. Second, Talbot's book, and his essay in the magazine focus on Robert Kennedy as the first to suspect a conspiracy in the JFK case. For instance, Talbot writes in Time: "...Bobby immediately suspected the CIA's secret war on Fidel Castro as the source of the plot." (p. 66) He then traces RFK 's secret search for the truth about his brother's death through to 1968. He concludes with, "Kennedy told confidants that he himself would reopen the investigation into the assassination if he won the presidency, believing it would take the full powers of the office to do so ... Bobby never got a chance to prove his case." (ibid)
This is extraordinary. I can't recall a previous time when Time actually printed a genuine pro-conspiracy essay on the Kennedy case in its pages. Let alone describing Robert Kennedy as a conspiracy investigator who was going to "Let the Heavens Fall" when he became president. The even more remarkable thing about this is that if the reader was unawares of RFK's inquiry before, he could come to the subliminal conclusion that, "Hey, RFK was killed before he got to so this. Maybe that was the reason." In other words, Time may have opened the door for some on the RFK case also.
David Talbot's book, which rose as high as number thirteen on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list, is having a salutary effect.